Introducing Hadley Elizabeth Ray


Days, weeks and months leading up to this little lady’s birth I watched birth vlog after birth vlog on Youtube to try to get some sort of true picture of what labor and delivery was going to look like. I’m a researcher, a reader, a “give me all the gruesome details so I can be mentally prepared” type of person. Unfortunately, it being the year 2020 and everything going down the crap shoot right at the beginning of my pregnancy, we couldn’t take in-person labor classes or tour the hospital. So Youtube became my best friend.

I never got my heart set on any particular birth plan. I was born via emergency c-section. Things happen. I knew that and I didn’t want to put some weird pressure on myself to have a “perfect” labor because giving birth is hard enough. I can say that now… because I’ve done it. WEIRD! I went back and forth between wanting to try and labor naturally OR just saying, “Hi, I’m here. Give me the epidural because it ain’t trying to be a hero.” I’ve broken bones, suffered a handful of other injuries, and have a crap back so I know pain and I know my threshold. It’s hard not to roll your eyes at people who are like “Yeah, I have a high pain tolerance,” but here I am!

I did know I wanted to wait as long as possible and go into labor on my own, because I knew that that was my best shot at a smooth vaginal delivery with little to no intervention. 39 weeks came, then 40, and then my doctor finally said, “I won’t let you go past 41 weeks.” Induction date was set for 41 weeks exactly, but I was SURE she would come before then. During that last overdue week, I cried a lot. I walked. I bounced. I ate spicy things. All the things they tell you about. Nope. Nada. She was comfy in there so we headed in to L&D on at 4pm on Thursday, October 1st. Cody and I were completely shocked our September baby was actually going to be an October baby.

Man, my face was SO swollen those last few days. My doc even mentioned it. There was definitely no more glowing.

There were a few mama’s who needed immediate attention so Cody and I waited a while in the lobby before we got a room. SO WEIRD. The movies never show people waiting quietly and calmly in the lobby for their induction. It was around 5 when we got a room. I got to change and settle in to be admitted, sign all the papers, and get the lovely IV inserted.

When we started the induction process with Cervadil, I was still at a 1. The nurse said I was supposed to kind of cruise through night, get some rest, and I could shower in the morning before they started Pitocin. Well, apparently I had what they like to call “a good batch” of Cervadil and was sent into full blown labor without even knowing it because… well that decently high pain tolerance plus never feeling a real contraction really had me thinking I was just a whimp. Bless Cody for witnessing me leave my body a few times. Throughout the night, things progressed quickly. My nurse kept telling me I should feel crampy and I kept thinking to myself that these are MORE than just cramps, but I kept writing it off that I was just being a big fat baby and couldn’t handle even the smallest pain. WRONG. I was so WRONG!

I kept asking if they give epidurals before they start the Pitocin with just Cervadil inserted and my nurse kept telling me that normally, no, they don’t because typically people aren’t in labor. So… the night went on. A rough, rough night of me being in crazy pain with zero rest and being tied to the bed even though I just wanted to move around. I’d guess it was around 6:30 in the morning when I was moaning and screaming in pain. These were NOT cramps. I couldn’t find a comfortable position and was clearly having contractions around every 30 seconds. Literally little to no breaks and had to hold myself up off the bed because the pressure down there was so so painful. My nurse flipped me on all fours to help with some major back pain and within a few minutes of her leaving the room, I thought my water broke but it was actually blood gushing down my leg instead. Sorry if that’s TMI, but this is real stuff folks. Cody ran to get her and she FINALLY checked me. Her eyes opened wider than wide and she looked at me and said… “You’re at an 8.” UM WHAT! I’ve been in full blown labor?! AND I’m technically in transition (which explains the screaming and the pressure)… HI, GIVE ME AN EPIDURAL. NOW. But she still had to get a bag of fluids in me and another round of antibiotics before the angel with the anesthesia could come see me. At that point, I was trying not to lose my mind.

At around 7:15am, it was finally time for the epidural. A lovely guy named David came in and was ready to roll. He made me laugh during the process and was so empathetic while I was moaning because it felt like I was literally sitting on my baby’s head. I’m so grateful for him and his bedside manner. I remember telling him I would pay his bill first. WORTH IT. Even if I only got to enjoy it for a little over an hour. A little bit salty about that, but it’s FINE. I’m FINE. Cody was so relieved after being by my side all night not knowing what to do to make the pain even the slightest bit better.

Here’s us after the epidural. We could finally rest after being up all night. Bless David.

Around 8-ish in the morning, the nurses prepped the room and pushing began. We did a handful of practice pushes with my nurse and Hadley girl was ready to roll. Apparently, I was a pretty good pusher or my body just rocked it naturally, which is fantastic because I told Cody I would be so mad at myself if I wasn’t a good at that part. I was like this is the one thing I can control and I’m going to do it well. I’m a weirdo, I know. The nurse called my doctor who had went back to the office, because he obviously didn’t realize how determined I was. He came into the room, I pushed once, her head was there, he told me to push just a little less next time, and then stopped me and told me to not push at all because my body was going to do it for me. I heard her cry and Hadley was here!

We recorded audio of her entering the world and all you hear are my sobs, excited nurses and the sweetest little cry. Our little girl was placed on my chest and she instantly calmed down and cuddled close to me. I looked at Cody’s swollen and tired eyes and he was having a moment. A moment he told me he knew he would have the second she was born, but we were finally living it. My little 7lb 1oz baby girl was here and perfect and healthy. It seemed like a dream. The main thing I remember was the RELIEF that I felt. In a matter of minutes, it was over and my world was changed!

The birth story for my Hadley girl was not what I would’ve expected. It was a hard and fast labor. I’m proud of myself for enduring the pain and somehow remaining calm through it all – even though I had zero clue what was happening… but I do know now that I am strong and capable. But also, get the epidural if you can. Do it for the women of the past who couldn’t. 😉

We are so thankful. Cody and I love being parents to this precious little girl and even though we’re a little sleep deprived, we know that this stage doesn’t last forever, and we’re cherishing these first few weeks. God is so good!

We love you beautiful baby girl!

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